One of the most effective ways of raising your profile and demonstrating your credibility is to become an expert source in articles or broadcast segments that appear in the media.
Developing a media strategy is a lot like investing, says Elizabeth Hoyle, CEO of H2 Central Marketing and Communications in Toronto. “It’s a long-term proposition that requires strategic planning and preparation.”
Hoyle recommends four steps to help you kick off your media strategy:
1. Evaluate your media worthiness
“Wanting to be interviewed by the media isn’t enough,” Hoyle says. You must first make sure you are a “media worthy” candidate.
Start by looking at your business track record on the following merits: you have a clean compliance record; you have achieved some level of success with your clients; and you are a confident speaker.
2. Determine your message
Once you’ve confirmed you’re in good shape to approach the media, Hoyle says, make sure you have a message or story you want to share: “What do you want your audience to think, feel and do with the information you are presenting?”
Keep in mind that the word “news” is the plural of “new.” Reporters, and editors are always looking to feature new and interesting trends related to clients’ personal finance behavior. Have you observed any such trends in your business? Are you employing a particular strategy to help these clients?
“That message [should be] less about what you have to say and more about what the audience needs to hear,” Hoyle says. It could be, for example, a financial dilemma your clients are facing, or a common trend financial advisors are observing in their clients.
3. Contact your firm’s communications department
Most dealer firms have a communications department, Hoyle says, which likely has a media policy that can guide you in communicating with the public.
“You’d be surprised how many communications departments have a hard time finding advisors willing to speak to the media,” Hoyle says.
When you approach your communications department, you might find yourself exposed to a wide array of opportunities to get in touch with the members of the media and the public, such as corporate events, client presentations and media events.
In addition, your firm’s communications department may be able to provide helpful tools, such as media training.
“You never want to interact with the media unprepared,” Hoyle says. “A communications department [can provide] training to help you speak confidently and compliantly.”
4. Make use of an affiliation
The Global Education (Canada) Inc.’s Canadian Securities Institute, Advocis, your university alumni network ─ are organizations that would be happy to profile their members.
The benefits to this “piggybacking” media strategy, Hoyle says, is that it allows you to kick off your strategy in a cost- and time-efficient manner. These organizations already have existing relationships with the media and can help arrange the interview for you.
This is the first instalment in a two-part series on developing a media strategy.
Next: media dos and don’ts.